By Michael O'Brien

December 2011 Archives

Week 5 Chicago Consensus Basketball Rankings

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Here are the consensus rankings entering Week 5. Rankings used: Sun-Times, Tribune, ESPN Chicago. Young suffered the biggest drop, falling out of the rankings after spending the last couple weeks at No. 2. No significant jumps this week, as most of the ranked teams did not lose.

1. Simeon (75) 1
2. Proviso East (72) 3
3. Curie (69) 4
4. Seton (66) 5
5. Warren (58) 7
6. Bloom (56) 6
6. Andrew (56) 8
8. Plainfield East (51) 10
9. De La Salle (49) 11
10. Bogan (48) 12
11. Hyde Park (47) 9
12. Crane (43) 13
13. New Trier (39) 14
14. Downers South (38) 15
15. Homewood-Flossmoor (32) 16
16. Harlan (27) 17
17. Stevenson (23) 18
18. St. Rita (22) 19
19. Metea Valley (17) 20
20. Morgan Park (15) 20
21. North Chicago (13) 22
22. Farragut (12) 23
23. North Lawndale (11) NR
24. Marshall (8) 24
25. Notre Dame (7) 24
Others receiving points: Orr (2), Young (1), St. Viator (1)

Tipped Off: Michael O'Brien's hoops notebook

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The next brother
Nobody is paying any attention to TEAM Englewood. I haven't seen them and don't know how good they are, but they are 7-2 and have a point guard with a serious basketball pedigree--Johnny Roland, the younger brother of Luther and Crandall Head.

Roland has been putting up impressive numbers all season. Tuesday night in a 62-49 win over Dyett he scored 24 points and dished out 10 assists.

Curie beats Hyde Park

Well, Curie certainly did prove me wrong Tuesday night. The Condors displayed a lot more patience in their win over Hyde Park than they did in the previous two games I'd watched them play. It was a huge win, possibly enough for the conference title. They also provided some nice proof that people are reading this blog, refusing to talk with me after the game because of yesterday's notebook in which I wrote that they were "a bit overrated right now."

Wednesday's games
It's a really good slate of games for a Wednesday. If I can get out of the office in time I'm going to head over to see Vocational at Bogan. Both teams have some top-notch guards.
Young at Orr is another great bet. There are only a few chances to see Young play this year, unless you want to buy a plane ticket.
Bolingbrook at Neuqua Valley should be the best bet in the suburbs.

Pekin/Collinsville/Bloomington pairings

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Three more tournaments have pairings released, still waiting on Carbondale and Centralia.

Pekin Tournament, Dec. 27-29
Limestone vs. Richwoods, 9 am
Plainfield East vs. Thornridge, 10:30 am
King vs. Boylan, 12:45
Morton vs. Hersey, 2:15
Normal West vs. Freeport, 3:45
Pekin vs. Lake Zurich, 6:30
Lanphier vs. LaSalle-Peru, 8
Washington, IL vs. Mount Carmel, 9:30

Collinsville Tournament, Dec. 28-30

East St. Louis vs. Oakville, MO, 9 am
Plainfield South vs. Springfield Southeast, 10:30 am
Belleville East vs. Lincoln, 1
McCluer North vs. Dunlap, 2:30
Quincy vs. Decatur MacArthur, 4
Chatham Glenwood vs. Granite City, 6:30
Collinsville vs. Decatur Eisenhower, 8
Belleville Althoff vs. Urbana, 9:30

Bloomington Tournament, Dec. 27-30
North Chicago vs. Culver, IN, 9
Normal vs. Thornwood, 7:30
Normal U-High vs. Oswego, 6
Mesa, AZ vs. Champaign Centennial, 4:30
North Lawndale vs. Springfield, 2:30
Grayslake Central vs. Rock Island, 1
Rockton Hononegah vs. Peoria Notre Dame, 11:30 am
Glenbard East vs. Mahomet Seymour, 10 am

Week 4 Chicago Consensus Basketball Rankings

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Here are the consensus rankings entering Week 3. Rankings used: Sun-Times, Tribune, ESPN Chicago.
With points and last week's ranking. Seton made the biggest jump after knocking off Crane. St. Rita took the biggest spill, despite having the best in-state win (over De La Salle) and losing to out of state powers. Stevenson and Bogan both entered the poll.

1. Simeon (75) 1
2. Young (72) 3
3. Proviso East (69) 4
4. Curie (66) 5
5. Seton (62) 14
6. Bloom (56) 7
7. Warren (53) 2
8. Andrew (50) 8
9. Hyde Park (49) 16
10. Plainfield East (48) 9
11. De La Salle (47) 10
12. Bogan (45) NR
13. Crane (38) 10
14. New Trier (37) 13
15. Downers South (35) 14
16. Homewood-Flossmoor (29) 12
17. Harlan (23) 18
18. Stevenson (22) NR
19. St. Rita (14) 6
20. Morgan Park (14) 17
20. Metea Valley (14) 19
22. North Chicago (13) 19
23. Farragut (11) 23
24. Marshall (6) NR
24. Notre Dame (6) NR
Other receiving points: Marist (4), West Aurora (2)

Tipped Off: Michael O'Brien's hoops notebook

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Let the speculation begin...
The big news of the day was Proviso West's announcement that next year's holiday tournament would feature 32 teams. That's simultaneous action on two courts (the second would be in the fieldhouse). So far I've heard some mixed reaction to the super huge holiday tournament idea. I haven't made up my mind yet, gonna think about it for awhile.

The press release also mentioned that a lot of the teams had already committed. I haven't heard any names yet, but will certainly start asking around.

Injury news
Matt Harness broke the news today of Andrew McAuliffe's injury. That's a rough blow for a Glenbrook North team that was surpassing expectations early in the season. Here's the story on that.

The new kid

There's a new holiday tournament in town, Hinsdale South. Pairings were released today. Metea Valley, Brother Rice, Schaumburg and Minooka were the top four seed.

Nazareth vs. Brother Rice, 8:30 a.m.
Lake Forest vs. Highland Park, 10 a.m.
Wheaton North vs. Stagg, 11:45 a.m.
Glenbrook South vs. Schaumburg, 1:15
Downers North vs. Minooka, 3
Sandburg vs. Providence, 4:30
Eisenhower vs. Metea Valley, 6:15
Rolling Meadows vs. Hinsdale South, 7:45

We are working on all the holiday tournament brackets now and will have them up and ready to go on the site as soon as possible.

Tuesday's best games
I'll be seeing Curie at Hyde Park. I was very impressed by Hyde Park last week, and to be honest I think Curie is a bit overrated right now. They have talent, but I just don't believe in them as top-flight team right now. They can prove me wrong tonight.

Burlington Central at Elgin
would also be a good bet. I'll be checking Elgin out on Friday.

Proviso West Tournament expanding to 32 teams in 2012

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Here is the press release:


The Proviso West Holiday Tournament has announced plans to expand its Christmas Classic from 16 to 32 teams starting next year.

"I got tired of saying 'no' to new teams that wanted to play here" said Holiday Tournament Executive Director Joe Spagnolo.

The new format will allow for games to be played on six days instead of the traditional four, and will allow for simultaneous games being played on three days of the tournament. The tournament expanded from eight to 16 teams, after the first year of the event in 1961.

A state-of-the-art facility including portable flooring and baskets will be brought in to the adjacent fieldhouse to provide a two games under one roof setting for a single admission price. Single sessions will remain at their current pricing, but on days where there are games in both facilities that ticket will allow admission to all games on both courts in that session.

"If you're quick on your feet, you'll be able to see the end of all 61 games" quipped Spagnolo.

Most of the 32-teams have already been secured and those teams and the dates for next year will be announced later this month.

Pontiac Holiday Tournament pairings

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Pairings were released today, I'll update with times tomorrow:

West Aurora vs. Danville
Curie vs. Niles West
Joliet vs. Waukegan
Warren vs. Plainfield North
United Twp vs. Lockport
Simeon vs. Bloomington
Manual vs. Pontiac
Oak Park vs. St. Charles North

Tipped Off: Michael O'Brien's hoops notebook

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Growing pains
St. Charles North, which was ranked in the preseason Super 25, is 2-6 after losing to Elgin last night. They have now lost to Plainfield East, Downers South, St. Charles East, Crane and Larkin, all good teams. I saw one of the wins (vs. TF North, which is young but talented and going through some growing pains of their own) and still think the North Stars are a good team. Perhaps they can prove it at Pontiac. The combination of Cully Payne and Kyle Nelson has a lot of potential and the supporting cast can shoot.

Freshman to watch
Zion-Benton beat Lake Forest 47-45 on Saturday and highly-regarded sophomore Milik Yarbrough led the way with 24 points. But Lake Forest was led by 6-7 freshman Evan Boudreau, who stared and had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Sounds like a young player to watch. The Scouts play Warren on Friday.

Wheeling gets interesting
Here are the pairings for the Wheeling Hardwood Classic, taking place Dec. 27-30.

Lake Park vs. Deerfield, 9 a.m.
Notre Dame vs. Vernon HIlls, 10:30 a.m.
Loyola vs. Prospect, 12:15
Stevenson vs. Streamwood, 2
Naperville Central vs. Carmel, 3:45
St. Viator vs. Maine West, 5:30
Libertyville vs. Wheeling, 7:15
Fremd vs Niles North, 8:45

Notre Dame's win over Marist and Stevenson's win over Warren has definitely made this tournament more intriguing. Loyola also is gathering steam after knocking off Evanston on Saturday night.

Sunday games

I'll be at the shootout at Collins today to check out the final 4 games. I'll be tweeting if there is power available...

Tipped Off: Michael O'Brien's hoops notebook

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Joliet Central's Eddie McElrath holds the ball in front of Lincoln-Way Central's Colton Johnson. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media

We are the Steelmen and the Steelmen are great
Kudos to Joliet Central, a team that basically cobbled itself together last season out of the ashes of the combined Joliet Township program (most of the players went to Joliet West). The Steelmen are 5-2 after beating Lincoln-Way Central last night. Joliet Central coach Jeff Corcoran has his young team ready to win every night.

What's happening at Warren?

The Blue Devils were expected to be one of the few reliable, stable, high-level teams this season. They lost to a young Stevenson team on Tuesday. Then on Friday, they beat Mundelein, but played without Darius Paul and Roman Schultz, who were apparently suspended for disciplinary reasons. Not good. Will be interesting to see what seed they get in the Pontiac Tournament. Seeds come out on Sunday.

Two more unbeatens fall
The ranks of the undefeated are getting slimmer daily. Glenbrook North was upset by Deerfield last night and Marist was beat by another team with a few young stars, Notre Dame.

Orris returns
Might be time to get Crete-Monee back into the Super 25. Illinois-bound guard Michael Orris is back after missing the beginning of the season with an ankle injury. He scored 26 points and had five steals in his second game of the season last night, a win over Rich East.

Sectional assignments released
The IHSA released the sectional assignments last night, and boy are coaches in the city unhappy about it. The TBA Sectional, which features most of the Chicago teams, is loaded. Young, Simeon, Curie, De La Salle, Vocational, Bogan, Hyde Park, Marist and St. Rita are all in it.

Tipped Off: Michael O'Brien's hoops notebook

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Thunderbirds deliver
So I had my first look at Hyde Park this afternoon and I was very impressed. The Thunderbirds are underrated by everyone right now. I know most people thought they would be good if all the transfers were eligible, but kept them ranked lower because that was so unlikely. Well, they are all playing. It may take awhile to get everyone on the same page, but there are few teams in the state that will be able to match their quickness and size.

I would say Hyde Park has six likely Division I players: Kyle Davis, Phillip Lee, Marcus Smith, Moshawn Thomas, Frank Williams and Juwan Savage.

Right now I'd say they might be the third best team in the Public League, behind Simeon and Young. But I haven't seen Young or Bogan yet...

Another good big man
Naperville Central soph center Nick Czarnowski scored a team-high 22 points in the Redhawks' victory over Waubonsie Valley. Through six games, the 6-foot-8, 220-pound Czarnowski has eclipsed the 20-point mark three times, including scoring 22 points against Marmion and Waubonsie Valley, respectively.

Larkin is ready
All the talk in the Elgin area during the preseason centered around Elgin and the St. Charles teams. But look out for Larkin. The Royals are 6-0 and knocked off St. Charles North last night.

Who is this guy?
Schaumburg senior Christian Spandiary was the Daily Herald's boys basketball player of the week after scoring 31 against Fremd and 27 against Prospect. He made 84 percent of his shots (21 for 25) and was 5 for 7 from three. I guess I'll get a look at him at Pontiac.

Friday's games
I'll be at North Park for Simeon vs. Farragut. Looking forward to getting my first look this season at the Admirals' Rashaun Stimage. He grew into a force late last season.

There is a good slate of games tonight though, which makes up for a rather week Saturday lineup. Any of these would be a good bet:

Waukegan at Evanston, 7:30
Notre Dame at Marist, 7:30
Warren at Mundelein, 7:30
Rich East at Crete-Monee, 6:30
Oswego East at Oswego, 7

Elgin Holiday Tournament Pairings

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Pairings for the 37th annual Elgin Holiday Basketball Tournament, games will take place Dec. 19-22.

Francis Parker vs. Buffalo Grove, 9:45 a.m.
Rockford East vs. Batavia, 11:15 a.m.
Dundee-Crown vs. Hoffman Estates, 12:45
La Lumiere, In. vs. Walther Lutheran, 2:15
Neuqua Valley vs. Rockford Guilford, 3:45
Larkin vs. Harlan, 5:15
Romeoville vs. Glenbard North, 6:45
Elgin vs. Senn, 8:15

Tipped Off: Michael O'Brien's hoops notebook

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Almost everything is unpredictable
Take a good look at St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare throwing his hands up in the air in frustration as a young Marist team upsets his Mustangs. That's something we are bound to see an awful lot of this season. After Rita knocked of De La Salle on the road last night, the Mustangs earned their big bump up to No. 5 in the rankings. But there are really only three proven commodities at this point (Simeon, Young, Proviso East) and anyone else can be beat on any given night.

This Brownridge kid might be pretty good after all
City/Suburban Hoops Report guru Joe Henricksen thinks Waubonsie Valley junior Jared Brownridge could be the best shooter in the state. He hasn't looked it the times I've seen him, but Joe is usually to be trusted. Brownridge had a big Wednesday, scoring 29 points with 13 in a crucial fourth quarter.

Here's a snippet from Jim Owczarski's story on Waubonsie's win over Neuqua Valley:

Brownridge hit three more threes in the second quarter -- one off a catch-and-shoot in the corner, another off a crossover, and then a buzzer-beater at the half where he split two defenders and then pulled up to give the Warriors a 32-29 lead.

And this is what Neuqua Valley coach Todd Sutton had to say after the game:

"We can't guard him. Flat out. We just couldn't guard him. Boatright-esque."

Comparing anyone to the Boat Show is high praise.

Everyone is eligible
Longtime readers will know I'm not too concerned about transfers. They can't be stopped, it's been going on forever. And who says a kid has to stay at a school? Coaches, teachers and media members get to jump around to wherever they want, why shouldn't the kids.

Anyway, word is that possibly all and definitely most of the transfers in the Public League (notably Markee Williams, Moshawn Thomas and Jawan Savage) are eligible to play. Those three played this week, which means very big things for Crane and Hyde Park.

Go watch Andrew
This one is for the aficionados. Go see Andrew as soon as possible. They will cleanse your palate of all the manufactured super teams in the city. It's so refreshing to watch a real high school basketball team--with kids that actual grew up in the community they are representing--playing such fluid basketball together.

Where to go Thursday
I'll be watching North Lawndale at Hyde Park, supposedly tipping off at 5:30 pm. I'm excited to get a look at Lamont Bryant's squad, and the Phoenix always has some unknown talents on hand.

Schaumburg at Hoffman Estates is always a solid pick, great rivalry.

And who wouldn't want to go watch Dundee-Crown at Stevenson? I'm dying to get a look at the Stevenson freshmen.

Week 3 Chicago Consensus Basketball Rankings

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Things are shaking up a bit as everyone gets a chance to see the teams play. Here are the consensus rankings entering Week 3. Rankings used: Sun-Times, Tribune, ESPN Chicago.

1. Simeon (75)
2. Warren (72)
3. Young (69)
4. Proviso East (66)
5. Curie (62)
6. St. Rita (61)
7. Bloom (53)
8. Andrew (47)
9. Plainfield East (46)
10. Crane (45)
10. De La Salle (45)
12. Homewood-Flossmoor (44)
13. New Trier (33)
14. Downers South (31)
14. Seton (31)
16. Hyde Park (28)
17. Morgan Park (21)
18. Harlan (20)
19. North Chicago (14)
19. Metea Valley (14)
21. Glenbrook North (13)
22. Marist (11)
23. Farragut (9)
24. Evanston (6)
24. Hillcrest (6)
25. Morton (1)

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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